I follow several natural parenting blogs. One post caught my attention the other day. It was titled “We Don’t Do Santa” and it was about the blog-her’s decision to attempt not to expose her children to Santa (good luck, the fat, jolly, old fellow is everywhere). She cited three reasons for this: (1) too much commercialism; (2) she felt like she would be lying to her children; (3) and she didn’t like the idea of conditioning gifts on behaviour.
Now, I could relate to some of her concerns. I can be a bit squeamish about Santa. Especially, when it is time to go the mall and sit my children on some strangers lap!!! Those of you who know me well, can just imagine my skin crawling and my eye twitching! But to “not do Santa” at all?
Ge’ez, in our quest for conscientious parenting are we taking the magic out of Christmas?
I don’t see perpetuating the myth of Santa as straight out lying to my children. I like to think of it as a fantasy or magic. It is magical. Think back to when you were a child. Wishing, waiting, imagining, leaving cookies, trouble sleeping, and the delight in the morning upon discovering that he had visited when you were sleeping. I have yet to sleep through a Christmas Eve and I am thirty-three years old!
I don’t even remember when I realized that Santa wasn’t real. It obviously didn’t traumatize me, make me think that my parents were liars, or cause me to lose trust in them. I have issues, that is for sure, but it wasn’t from disillusionment about the Santa myth.
I agree that Christmas is too commercial. I actually feel physically ill on Christmas morning when the family room is a mess of paper and gifts. I want to be sure that my boys are not greedy and that they appreciate each gift that they receive. Asking Santa for a list of wants probably encourages this commercialism. However, perhaps kids could think of their Santa letter as more of a prayer. A thank you, a request for others, a request for themselves.
We try to actively pursue the spirit of giving, especially during the holiday season. We donate gently used and new toys, fill n Christmas Child Shoebox, make other donations through our Church and workplaces, etc. With our jobs, my husband and I are exposed to families who are struggling. We can, in turn, share stories of what life is like for other families with our own children. We are trying to instill the idea of being appreciative for what they have and of sharing with others. I think that we can still do this and “do Santa.”
In participating in religious activities at our Church, we stress the reason for the season. We do advent activities and the boys participate in the Christmas Nativity. Last year they were Baby Jesus, a chicken, and a donkey. Who got the best deal there? The other night the boys said that Christmas was about the birth of a King, it is Jesus’ birthday. phew….
I am totally down with not making Santa’s gifts conditional upon being “nice” and not “naughty.” The only concept that my boys have of Santa’s so-called naughty or nice list has been picked up somewhere else. I want my boys to behave for the sake of behaving, to be responsible family members and citizens, not for an extrinsic reward. So, we never warn “Santa is watching….”, etc. The other day my oldest son asked it it was true that Santa only bring presents to little boys and girls who were “good.” I told him that I like to believe that Santa brings gifts to all children, who celebrate Christmas, because he wants them all to be happy. He liked that idea. Then he punched his brother because after all he was going to get a gift regardless. I am totally kidding!!
So, we are going to continue to “do Santa” and I am not going to apologize for it! Besides, Santa is getting older and I’m sure that he is grateful for any action that he can get!